No team in the American League had given up fewer home runs at home than the Kansas City Royals … and no team in the league had given up more on the road.
That trend continued Friday night in Chicago.
Ian Kennedy has made four starts at home. He’s pitched 24 2/3 innings and given just one home run in Kauffman Stadium. His home ERA is 1.46.
On the road, it’s a different story: Kennedy has had eight starts, pitched 46 1/3 innings but given up 13 home runs. He has a road ERA of 5.44.
Four of those road home runs came Friday in Game 1 of a three-game series in Chicago, and the White Sox beat the Royals 7-5. That’s eight losses in a row for Kansas City and brings the Royals back to .500.
Nobody can say for sure that things will get better once the Royals come home on Monday, but things couldn’t get a whole lot worse.
Conditions were right
At the beginning of every big-league game, someone in the press box announces the time of the first pitch, the temperature and which way and how hard the wind is blowing.
Those of us in the media write that stuff down and then forget it.
But sometimes the game reminds you.
Friday night in Chicago, the game-time temperature was 92 degrees and the wind was blowing out to left field. The foul poles in U.S. Cellular Field are farther from home plate than the foul poles in Kauffman, but everywhere else (dead left and right field, the gaps and dead center), the fences in Chicago are closer to home plate than they are at The K.
So on a smoking-hot day in the Windy City, get the ball up in the air (especially to left field) and the ball carries. Of the seven balls that left the yard Friday, five were hit to the left of dead center field. The Royals had three home runs to the left (Salvador Peres hit one just to the left of center).
Watch the flags in today’s game. They might tell you what’s about to happen.
Unhappy Chris Sale
Chris Sale came out to pitch the seventh inning, and after giving up three straight hits the score was White Sox 7, Royals 4.
Manager Robin Ventura came out to switch pitchers. As Sale left the mound, it appeared he was giving a piece of his mind to Ventura, and that’s a bad sign for Chicago.
Baseball etiquette requires that differences be settled in private. You don’t air your dirty laundry in public. If Sale didn’t like what Ventura was doing, he should have waited until they were both back in the dugout and asked Ventura to step up the tunnel. That way their argument wouldn’t be caught on camera.
If Sale was airing out Ventura (and that’s what it looked like), doing it on the mound in front of the cameras and his teammates shows a lack of respect for Chicago’s manager … and that lack of respect can be catching.
If a star player begins to question a manager’s decisions, other players might follow along. And pretty soon, you have chaos.
If things get contentious in Chicago, don’t be surprised.